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In Action

State Taxpayers, Take Cover!
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Press Release

State Taxpayers, Take Cover!

This is supposed to be the political honeymoon period. After all, Election 2002 was just three weeks ago. So, why are new state legislators and governors suddenly talking taxes?

11/20/2002
The Battlefield Ahead
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Press Release

The Battlefield Ahead

The liberals took a beating in the 2002 elections. Al Gore said it, Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, James Carville – the entire establishment of the Left itself admits 2002 went very badly for them. Yet what remains unspoken is the realization that liberalism did not die on November 5th. The organized left intends to make a comeback. Therefore, those of us who believe in less government, lower taxes and more freedom need to think through the liberals’ next moves.

11/20/2002
Newly Elected State Senators and Representatives
Who Have Signed the "No New Tax" Pledge in North Carolina
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Press Release

Newly Elected State Senators and Representatives<br> Who Have Signed the "No New Tax" Pledge in North Carolina

List of newly elected North Carolina State Sentators and Representatives who signed NC CSE's "No New Tax" pledge.

11/20/2002
More anti-Muslim Censoring in Textbooks After 9/11
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More anti-Muslim Censoring in Textbooks After 9/11

BY Lance Gay

The war on terrorism is giving fresh ammunition to groups protesting what they perceive as anti-Christian and anti-American propaganda in school textbooks. Watchdog groups contend publishers are so concerned about lucrative schoolbook contracts that during the recently completed book selection process in the Texas school system, publishers have opted just to delete some of the challenged portions of texts involving Islam, rather than fight to keep them in, or offer alternative wording. Steve Driesler, spokesman for the American Association of Publishers, said disputes over references to Islam in texts used in U.S. schools have become more controversial since the 9/11 attacks. He noted history and social science schoolbooks were re-written over the last two decades, under instructions that often came from school boards to come up with texts that weren't so concentrated on western European cultures, and views that gave a fuller coverage to other cultures represented in American schools today. "They have intentionally gone back and given a better understanding of other cultures and religion," Driesler said, contending the 9/11 attacks made the changes in the text more conspicuous and brought attacks on publishers' motives. Ashley McIlvain of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization battling what it sees as an effort by conservative Christian religious groups to push a religious agenda on schools, said positive characterizations of Islam and Islamic history are coming under increasing attack. "I think this is a direct result of 9/11," she said. Rather than fighting the groups, McIlvain said publishers are often deleting paragraphs and sentences involving Islam that conservative critics find objectionable. She said the outcome of the Texas fights over textbook language isn't just an issue involving the $600 million a year Texas spends on schoolbooks, but affects schools in other states as well because publishers want to produce books accepted by all states. Among changes made this year, textbook publisher Prentice Hall agreed to delete the sentence: "Many other teachings in the Quran, such as the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for their families, govern their daily lives." Critics objected to the sentence as being "more propaganda" for Islam. Prentice Hall spokeswoman Wendy Spiegel said the book's editors found issues raised by the objectionable sentence were addressed partially in other parts of the text, and so agreed with critics to excise the sentence. In an other instance, publisher Glencoe, a division of McGraw-Hill, deleted the words: "Al Qeada's leader, Osama bin Laden told his followers that it was a Muslim's duty to kill Americans. No idea could be farther from Muslim teachings. The Quran, Islam's holiest book, tells soldiers to 'show (civilians) kindness and to deal with them justly.' " Critics objected to the passage, saying "this is going to great length to put a positive light on Muslim teachings considering other passages in the Quran." A Glencoe spokeswoman did not return a reporter's phone call. Peggy Venable of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, an organization whose volunteers filed many of the textbook complaints, said texts that don't emphasize American values and champion multi-cultural ideas should not be endorsed for use in the schools. "We want to see tolerance taught and to encourage students to see our government in a positive light," she said. "We saw in these texts a tone that de-exceptionalized the United States. To say all cultures are equal is absurd." Venable rejected charges that her group was censoring school texts. "We are parents and taxpayers," she said. Publishers agreed to more than 40 percent of the text changes members of her group made, she said, and "if you look at the texts, most of the changes strengthened the text books." Jen Schroeder, a self-described "soccer Mom" in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said it's not just the texts she finds objectionable, but role-playing activities the books promote in classrooms that her children are asked to play. Schroeder has launched her own Web site attacking the sixth grade social studies text, "Across the Centuries" published by Houghton-Mifflin because it asks students to imagine they are Muslim soldiers, or participate in building a mosque. "Asking children to participate in other religions is a huge violation of our religious rights," Schroeder said. "The propaganda is unreal." Houghton Mifflin spokesman Collin Earnst said Schroeder's complaints aren't founded, and the text has been used in schools for 11 years. He said that only 10 percent of the book concerns Islam, and that all other religions are included to expose students to a variety of other beliefs and cultures. Houghton-Mifflin, which is keeping the provisions in the text, said the classroom activities the books encourage are intended only to give students a deeper understanding of other cultures and religions. Andrew Riggsby, an assistant professor of classics at the University of Texas, said he sees the end results of school text battles in his classroom. He said he notices this in discussing how the Roman Empire expanded when students aren't aware of how European expansion into North America slaughtered the Indians because interest groups persuaded school text publishers to scrub those negative views of colonialists.

11/20/2002
Consumers, Credit, and Choice
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Press Release

Consumers, Credit, and Choice

Summary consumer position on credit scoring… Consumers can benefit from credit scoring and cost effective ways insurance companies and can lower the price of premiums or facilitate the inclusion of consumers who otherwise would be too expensive to underwrite.

11/19/2002
November Minutemen of the Month
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Press Release

November Minutemen of the Month

After a busy election season, CSE has selected three outstanding activists as the Minutemen of the Month: Lil Banks of Merritt Island, Florida; and Ed and Mary Copeland of Mebane, North Carolina.

11/19/2002
Corr To Perry: Need To Stand Up For Kids
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Corr To Perry: Need To Stand Up For Kids

We are disappointed that one of Texas Governor Rick Perry's first acts after his re-election was the appointment of former tobacco industry lobbyist Mike Toomey as chief of staff in his administration. We hope the Governor will not let the past employment of his top aide cloud his judgment on important issues facing the state. These issues include raising the tax on tobacco products to help reduce both the state's budget deficit and its smoking rate, increasing funding for tobacco prevention programs, and resisting calls to sell the state's tobacco settlement revenues to Wall Street for a fraction of their value. Governor Perry and other Texas leaders should reject the special interests of the tobacco industry and act to protect Texas' kids and health instead. It is unfortunate that Governor Perry has chosen as his top aide a former lobbyist for Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco company and the manufacturer of Marlboro, the most popular brand among youth smokers. In fact, more kids -- 55.2 percent of all smokers ages 12 to 17 -- smoke Philip Morris's Marlboro than all other brands combined, according to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Big Tobacco has consistently opposed higher tobacco taxes. Last June, public health advocates welcomed a proposal by state Senators Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to increase Texas' cigarette tax by $1.00 from 41 cents to $1.41. The proposed cigarette tax increase is a win-win-win solution for Texas. It's a health win that will reduce smoking among both kids and adults and save lives by reducing tobacco-caused disease. It's a financial win that will raise much-needed revenue to help balance the state budget. And, it's a political win for Texas legislators because 70 percent of Texas voters supported a $1.00 increase of the tax in a poll earlier this year. In short, increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most important public health measures Texas' leaders can enact. Despite this, the tobacco industry-supported group Citizens For a Sound Economy has actively fought the proposal. Governor Perry should act to reduce tobacco's toll in Texas by increasing funding for tobacco prevention. 28.1 percent of Texas youth currently smoke, and 59,600 more kids become regular, daily smokers every year, one-third of whom will die prematurely. Smoking-caused health care expenses and productivity losses cost Texas $10 billion a year. By fully funding a tobacco prevention program in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Texas can reduce this terrible toll and save up to $3 in health care costs related to tobacco-caused disease for every dollar it spends on tobacco prevention. Governor Perry should also reject the Texas Business Association's proposal to securitize all of the state's tobacco settlement. Selling 25 years worth of settlement payments for a smaller up-front payment is a raw deal for kids and taxpayers. This proposal would make it virtually impossible for the state to adequately fund a comprehensive tobacco prevention program in the future. It is a nearsighted approach to the state's budget crunch that will cost taxpayers more in the end. To fix the state's budget gap, Texas leaders should instead enact a higher cigarette tax.

11/19/2002
Textbook Review Process is Fair and Open
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Press Release

Textbook Review Process is Fair and Open

Today’s vote of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) proved to be a win for Texas schoolchildren. The process, which provided citizen input in three public hearings and several months in which written testimony was accepted, brought comments from citizens from around the state.

11/15/2002
Citizens for a Sound Economy’s comments on the Notice of Proposed IRS Rulemaking
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Press Release

Citizens for a Sound Economy’s comments on the Notice of Proposed IRS Rulemaking

Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (“CSE Foundation”), is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with approximately 280,000 members. Its mission is to educate citizens on, and to promote the adoption of, free-market policies, which it believes inure to the benefit of consumers and citizens generally. CSE Foundation welcomes the opportunity to submit comments on the Internal Revenue Service’s proposed rulemaking, “Guidance on Reporting of Deposit Interest Paid to Nonresident Aliens,” (REG-133254-02). We have a number of concerns about the proposed rule and its adverse impact on the U.S. economy. Consequently, we request that the IRS withdraw the proposed rule.

11/14/2002
Defend schoolchildren from board's `revisions'
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Press Release

Defend schoolchildren from board's `revisions'

Where are academics in the debate over textbooks for public schools? A "citizens" group is bullying textbook publishers into exorcising facts from history, government and social studies books slated for Texas students while most scholars and institutions of higher learning warm the bench.

11/14/2002

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